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Medical fraternity welcomes verdict on Aruna Shanbaug

IANS  Mumbai, March 07, 2011
First Published: 14:57 IST(7/3/2011) | Last Updated: 15:00 IST(7/3/2011)

Welcoming Monday's Supreme Court verdict rejecting a petition for the mercy killing of Aruna Shanbaug, who has been in a "persistent vegetative state" for 37 years after being brutally raped, Mumbai's medical fraternity reiterated that she should live.


Doctors in Mumbai also said that they will not favour even passive euthanasia in Shanbaug's case.

Sanjay Bourde, a surgeon at the Breach Candy Hospital, said that euthanasia should be given only to patients who have multiple complications and are brain-dead.

"I will not advocate euthanasia in Aruna Shanbaug's case. She is neither on a ventilator nor is her treatment too expensive. All she needs is a little care," Borude said.

Niranjan Chavan from Lokmanya Tilak General Hospital agreed with this view. He said nobody has the right to take a life.

"If I had to decide, I would decide even against passive euthanasia. Aruna Shanbaug has the right to live till she dies of natural causes," he said.

According to Pragna Pai, former dean of KEM Hospital, where Aruna worked as a nurse and where she was assaultede, it is a difficult decision to take.

"In this case, keeping her alive is like dragging her. But depriving her of regular food and medical treatment is not fair. I pray she should pass away as peacefully as possible. But as long as she is alive, she should be allowed to live. There is no point in killing her," she said.

Khozem Pathanwala, a practising physician, said that it is time to let her go.

"She has suffered enough. It is time now that we understand her suffering and release her of the pain that she has undergone for 37 years," he said.

Rishi Panchal, another practising doctor, had a similar opinion.

He said that Shanbaug "has the right to a dignified death as much as she has the right to a dignified life."

The Supreme Court Monday rejected a petition for the mercy killing of Aruna Shanbaug, who has been in a "persistent vegetative state" for the past 37 years after being sodomised by a hospital sweeper, but permitted passive euthanasia if this was allowed by a high court.

The petition was moved on Shanbaug's behalf by her friend and social activist Pinki Virani.

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